5 Great Outdoor Day Trips from Hobart, Tasmania
Tasmania is one of the less frequented states of the deceptively massive country of Australia. Mainlanders often look skeptical when one mentions plans to visit Tassie – as it’s usually referred to – but those looks are followed up with the admission that they haven’t actually even been there. For outdoor lovers and travelers looking to get off the beaten path a bit, Tasmania is a worthy destination.
Hobart, itself is worth a trip – a quaint city spread out amongst the picturesque harbor that lays beneath Mt. Wellington – but the capital city also serves well as a base for various hikes and day trips. Accommodation is easier to find, as well as transportation to surrounding areas, and you’ll have access to restaurants and bars during down time. Renting a car (or ferrying your own over) seems to be the best way to achieve the freedom to bop around the island’s many destinations. Below are several excellent outdoor-oriented day trips from Tasmania’s capitol city.
Bruny Island is located just off the coast of Hobart, and is only a short car ferry ride from a small port that is an estimated 30 minute drive south of the city. Taking a car to Bruny is necessary since its attractions are spread out. Once on the island, follow Highway B66 down to the national park and walk the short, steep distance to the lighthouse for an amazing 360-degree view of the island, eclipsed by mountains and cliffs plunging into the Artic Ocean. Hike around until your heart is content before making your way over to Cloudy Bay for a bit of alone time – since there is a good chance you’ll be the only soul there. After soaking up some sun, stop off at Adventure Bay and climb the stairs of The Neck Lookout for a spectacular view of two bays separated by a thin slice of land and sand.
Reward yourself with a wine tasting at Bruny Island Winery before continuing onward to the island’s small but ample culinary trail. First stop is Bruny Island Cheese – a place so wonderful you won’t want to leave – with truly top-notch cheeses and an array of small plates and beverages. Perhaps the only way to find the motivation to leave is knowing what beckons next door – Get Shucked Oysters. Top off your fabulous day on the island with a dozen or two of world-class oysters as you gaze out over the sea they came from. Bruny Island is tough to beat for a day full of unbeatable scenery and food fit for royals.
If you are properly equipped and can spend a few days on the island, there are overnight treks that would surely please any eager hiker.
Tasman National Park – The Totem Pole and Candlestick
Drive the 90 minutes to Port Arthur, where Tasman National Park is located, and make your way to the trailhead for The Totem Pole and Candlestick on Cape Huay. The 4.4 km hike may seem like a breeze but be mentally prepared for countless stairs, which weave up and down over the elevation gains. The grueling hike rewards trekkers with an incredible view of tessellated cliffs that jut skywards hundreds of meters from the sea, fringed by sapphire blue water and colorful vegetation. Be sure to pack a snack and plenty of water to replenish your body while you take in the scenery. After your walk be sure to hit the car accessible views of the national park before grabbing a bite to eat at a little seafood stand in the nearby silly town of Dooville.
Hartz Peak National Park
Hartz Peak National Park is a scenic 90 minute drive from the city, and holds a number of great hikes. Register your trek at the ranger’s station and follow the well-kept trail towards the park’s highest peak. The 3-4 hour round trip – with a bit of a rock scramble at the top – rewards you with sprawling views of island’s mountains. Be sure to pack rain gear and something warm, as the weather on the peak can turn quickly. On your way back to the city stop off at Willie Smith’s Cider House and enjoy a flight of their delicious ciders and sample their tasty morsels. On weekends the place gets pretty lively with live music and wood-fired pizza.
Mt. Field’s National Park
Embark on a pleasant hour drive to this large, mountainous national park. Here you will find the stunning Russell Falls, and the lesser-frequented Horseshoe Falls. Take the easy 1.5 hour loop past both falls and into the Forest of Giants – featuring the towering Gum Trees, which are some of the tallest trees in the world. A further drive up the narrow dirt road will bring you into the high country where there are endless treks, both day and overnight.
Wineglass Bay – Freycinet National Park
Depart the city early for this hike as the drive is a bit longer, about 2 hours one way of windy coastal roads. Drive down to the National Park and hike the relatively short but steep trail to the peak. Take a deep breath as you take in the aerial view of the truly magnificent white sand bay. Trot down the mountain towards the shore and chill out in the sun for a bit on one of Australia’s most beautiful – and less frequented – beaches. Enjoy some fresh seafood at one of the many stands on Tassie’s East Coast.
Tasmania has seemingly endless outdoor opportunity, and though these trips are focused on a Hobart base, be sure to check out all the island has to offer. Don’t miss an overnight trip further north at the Bay of Fires, the orange lychee covered boulders are a site to see against the vibrantly blue waters and green grassy hills.
Add some city activities to your itinerary as well, from the massive Salamanca Market on Saturdays, to the world famous MONA museum, to the restaurants geared towards sustainable and organic food. A windy drive up Mt. Wellington for sunset provides a worthy view of Hobart and the harbor. Tasmania truly is the adventurer’s dream!